John Wall mystifies Celtics on this delicious dime

Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) dribbles against Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat (13), of Poland, during the second half in Game 4 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Washington.

Thomas didn't take his first shot Thursday until almost four minutes into the game and didn't register his first point until a free throw with 1:22 to play in the first quarter.

The bottom fell out as Washington scored the next 26 points to effectively seal the game and ensure there will be at least two more games in the series.

At times in each of the past two games, the Wizards have been the most explosive team in the National Basketball Association playoffs.

The Celtics lead would actually swell to 12 and then it was as if a switch went off in Wall's head, and he had enough. Boston attempted 24 free throws compared to 27 for Washington. At one point the TNT announcers vacillated between wondering if Wall was the second-best player in the East and then coming up with reasons why he might be better than Russell Westbrook.

What made Wall's performance that much more gratifying was that it came after Isaiah Thomas's quick start. Last game it was in the first quarter, (Game 4) it was in the third quarter.

The Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards just plain don't like each other.

In the third quarter, however, the short-handed Wizards looked as if they had a man advantage. Their turnovers, and poor shot selection, during the series have led to easy Washington points, and that simply can't happen if they want to win another game, let alone advance in the National Basketball Association playoffs. We just got to remain confident, keep shooting with confidence and don't allow them to go on 22-0 runs, 26-0 runs.

One game into the second round, Isaiah Thomas had his tooth knocked out by an elbow from Otto Porter. Even if it will still be tied, dropping game four and letting the Wizards tie things up at two a piece is conceding every bit of that control. "Especially in that third quarter, I may have hit the ground five or six times". Avery Bradley is the third double-digit scorer and Jae Crowder is grabbing 5.7 rebounds.

Asked if he might have to spend Friday's off day back in the dentist's chair, Thomas said he's done with those visits until Boston's playoff run is over. The Rockets' 3-point shooting, a hallmark of their success in the regular season, got back on track Sunday when they made 19 of 43, led by six from Gordon.

Facing their own mortality following a painful Game 2 defeat, the Wizards responded by talking a big game. He briefly gave the Wizards the lead back with a driving layup. The Wizards are the fourth seed, and took out Atlanta in the first round.

The Washington dealt with it in their first round series of the 2017 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks and the ball club will have to do it again against the Boston Celtics. The Wizards are -4.5 over the Celtics. The unfortunate reality is that the Celtics did have an opportunity to make quick work of the Wizards, but their inconsistent play hurt them in a bad way in game three. They are averaging 37 total rebounds and allowing 12.5 offensive rebounds against the Wizards. But for the Wizards to make such a quick turnaround at the expense of the Celtics' confidence was quite a surprise.

The series now turns into a best of three with game five is set for Wednesday night at the TD Garden in Boston. The Wizards are 26-6 at home since December 5.

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